Holiday healthcare in Europe

Understanding the European Health Insurance Card

While it’s far more fun to focus on sunshine, sand and sea, it’s important to know what to do if things do go wrong.

If you have an accident, injury or fall ill while you’re away, you’ll want to make sure you can access healthcare as quickly as possible (and you’re not stuck with a huge bill afterwards).

As a UK resident, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that gives you access to medical care at a reduced cost.

Here’s what you’ll need to know to apply for an EHIC card, plus our top tips on making sure your travel insurance covers any extra costs.

What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Remember the old paper E111 form that lived in the drawer and got packed in your suitcase once a year? Well, in 2006, this was replaced by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

If you’re going on holiday within the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, , the EHIC is a valuable piece of plastic, entitling you to the same level of healthcare in your host country that the locals get – sometimes even free care.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? While it’s a great idea to pick one up (it’s free to apply, after all), it doesn’t cover the costs of all the assistance you might need.

With our Travel Insurance, you’ll be covered for emergency medical costs, as well as things like the costs of flights if you need to get home.

How to get or renew an EHIC

You can apply for or renev an EHIC on Gov.uk or via the NHS.

The online process takes about 5 minutes (providing you know your NHS number) and you should receive your card in the post in around 7 working days.

Working while you’re away?

If you’re planning to live or work abroad, it’s often worth taking out an international health insurance policy.

Most travel insurance is designed to cover you while you’re on holiday and often isn’t suitable if you’re looking for more long-term cover while you’re setting up home or working overseas.

What to do in a medical emergency abroad

First things first, contact us or your travel insurance company and explain what’s happened. If you’re insured with us, we can help arrange medical assistance for you if you need it.

Make sure you tell the doctor/hospital the generic or brand name of any medication you take (even better if you can show them the packaging itself).

Keep any next of kin details handy so medical staff can keep them informed.

As well as your insurer, you might want to contact the British Embassy in the country you’re in who can help arrange travel back to the  UK quickly.

Remember to keep any receipts, labels, or proof of purchase for items you’ll want to make a claim for on your insurance.

And try not to worry, accidents and injuries are rare, so don’t let the thought of something going wrong spoil your holiday. Whatever happens, we’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – online or over the phone – to help you.

Looking for Travel Insurance?

Visit our Travel Insurance page to see full details of the cover we offer.

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